Friday, December 08, 2006

Baptism: what is it?

We begin our study into baptism with the following article by Dr. Thomas White. Again, for the sake of space, the footnotes are not included but you can read them with the article at http://www.baptisttheology.org/documents/WhatMakesBaptismValid_002.pdf

On another note the Joshua Convergence webpage has a new article up:) You can view it at http://www.joshuaconvergence.com/blog.php

Enjoy:)



“What Makes Baptism Valid?”

by: Dr. Thomas White

Practically every church in the world requires their members to be baptized. Thus, a large portion of the world’s population believes they have experienced proper baptism; however, Baptist churches do not accept all of these baptisms. In fact, much confusion exists over what constitutes valid baptism. Some believe in the validity of infant baptism while others accept only believers’ baptism. Some practice baptism by sprinkling or pouring while others only immerse. Some divide over the doctrine of baptism while others consider it a minor doctrine of little importance.

Perhaps some categories may help us embark upon an investigation of this issue. A Christian baptism could be validated by continuing in the historical tradition of the “Christian church.” If valid baptism is based on the foundation of Christian tradition, then Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, and other Protestant groups which make up the “Christian tradition” possess valid baptism. The Baptists are part of the Christian tradition yet do not accept as valid the baptism of these other groups. Baptists generally refer back to Scripture in an effort to determine what is baptism according to Scripture alone. Based on their understanding of Scripture, Baptists have denied the validity of infant and non-immersion baptisms. Thus, a second category could be scriptural baptism. This essay will focus primarily on what Scripture has to say about baptism but will secondarily discuss the view of the Baptist tradition on baptism as the author deems it relevant.

In order to discuss completely the ordinance of baptism, this paper will address six overlapping categories. Some of these categories have been more emphasized by Baptists than others and some of them have been the central problem in controversies. Nevertheless, one must examine and determine the importance of these six aspects in order to understand baptism. This author will now list these categories with a brief sentence of how they relate. The remainder of the article will explain in more detail the importance of each category, attempting to focus more attention on the more problematic elements and providing historical illumination where beneficial. As always, the Bible is the final source of authority.


Six Categories of Baptism

I. Subject: The subject of baptism must be a believer. Any other subject cannot make a profession of faith or identify with Christ or His church.

II. Mode: Immersion is the proper mode of baptism. No other mode is supported by Scripture.

III. Meaning: Baptism is not essential for salvation and does not grant an elevated status of sinlessness. Baptism is the profession of the believer placing his/her allegiance with Christ, and the initiatory ordinance into the local church. Baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

IV. Church: Proper baptism must be performed in connection with a true church. Baptism is a church ordinance and not a Christian ordinance. As this is perhaps the least understood view, a necessary discussion of the definition of a true church must also occur.

V. Administrator: The administrator should be someone selected by the local church. Overemphasis on this can lead to problems, as it did with the Donatists.

VI. Formula: The traditional formula is baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost in older times). Valid baptism must at the very least be in Jesus’ name.


I. The Subject of Baptism

Baptists have historically understood baptism in its most basic definition to have a believer as the subject and immersion as the mode. Many New Testament examples could be discussed to lay the foundation for believers as the proper subjects of baptism; however, only a few will be mentioned. For a complete discussion, this author has written another article dedicated to this topic which should be consulted. First, the Great Commission of Christ states that we are to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them….” People must first be made disciples or become believers before baptism. Peter states in Acts 2:38, “repent and be baptized.” Repentance leads one to become a believer before baptism. Philip preached the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch and the eunuch then requested baptism. While many Pedobaptists appeal to the household baptisms in Acts as precedent for infant baptism, careful study demonstrates no foundation anywhere in the Scriptures for infant baptism. The Scriptures know of only believers as the subjects of baptism. Infant baptism did not begin until a few hundred years after Christ, based upon a misconception of original sin. The Council of Carthage in A.D. 258 discussed how infants should be baptized, thus demonstrating the newness of infant baptism and an improper theological view of the practice.


II. The Mode of Baptism

Baptists have universally held that immersion is the only proper mode of baptism, and without immersion there is no true baptism. The New Testament continually uses the word baptizo. This Greek word has been brought directly into the English language as the word, “baptize.” Properly translated, instead of transliterated, this word means “immerse.” One may consult any number of Greek lexicons and even Pedobaptist scholars to support this definition. Perhaps the writing of John Calvin himself should be read. In the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote, “But whether the person being baptized should be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, whether he should only be sprinkled with poured water—these details are of no importance, but ought to be optional to churches according to the diversity of countries. Yet the word ‘baptize’ means to immerse, and it is clear that the rite of immersion was observed in the ancient church.” For additional evidence from history, one need only visit the ruins of ancient churches, noticing the variety of immersion baptistries in those churches. The question may arise, How did sprinkling become a common practice? William Wall, a Pedobaptist, explains in his History of Infant Baptism:

Now, Calvin had not only given his Dictate, in his Institutions, that the difference is of no moment, whether thrice or once; or whether he be only wetted with the water poured on him: But he had also drawn up for the use of his church at Geneva (and afterward published to the world) a form of administering the sacraments, where, when he comes to the order of baptizing, he words it thus: Then the minister of baptism pours water on the infant; saying, I baptize thee, etc. There had been, as I said, some Synods in the Dioceses of France that had spoken of affusion without mentioning immersion at all; that being the common practice; but for an Office or Liturgy of any church; this is, I believe the first in the world that prescribes affusion absolutely.

It quickly becomes obvious that church history and not Scripture forms the basis for any other mode than immersion. Lastly, the symbolic representation of the ordinance, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, can only be fulfilled by immersion. Immersion is so central to baptism that without it the ordinance is nullified.


III. The Meaning of Baptism

The vast majority of Baptists have always believed that baptism is a symbolic ordinance which identifies the believer with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To a lesser degree than in the past, Baptists have identified the ordinance of baptism as the following: 1) the believer’s public profession of faith, 2) the believer’s identification with Christ, and 3) the initiatory ordinance into the local church. All of these meanings of baptism have scriptural foundation. The identification of baptism as symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the Christian comes from Rom 6:3–4, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Baptism as the believer’s public profession of faith comes from Acts 2:38, where Peter states, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sin.” This close association with salvation also indicates the importance of baptism. Philip, when presenting the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, did so in such a way that the eunuch responded not with a prayer or by signing a card, but by asking to be baptized.

Baptism also served as the initiatory ordinance into the local church. Matthew 28:19–20 states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” The Commission is to make disciples. The acceptance of Christ is an inward decision of faith and repentance. This decision is made public by baptizing the believer in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, in order to teach them all things, they must then associate or gather for further instruction. The place for this teaching is the New Testament church. In Acts, baptisms resulted in the recipients gathering daily for additional instruction. The ecclesia or local church of the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Commission of Christ. The New Testament knows nothing of baptized believers not associated with a local church.

Perhaps this author should also identify what baptism is not. The Churches of Christ, formed initially by Alexander Campbell in the nineteenth century, among other denominations, believed that baptism was essential for salvation. While many such groups no longer believe what their founders taught, Oneness Pentecostals continue to teach the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Although many passages could be used, this author has chosen two passages as evidence to dismiss such claims. First, the thief on the cross did not experience baptism and yet that very day he was in the presence of the Lord. Luke 23:42–43 states, “And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’ And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.’” Second, Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:17 states, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” If baptism were required for salvation, Paul would never have made this claim. Thus, baptism is not essential for salvation.

The more dangerous option for Baptists today is minimizing the ordinance to the point of irrelevance. By tacking baptism onto the end of services focused on other subjects, by neglecting to allow the recipient an opportunity to make a profession of faith, and by not investigating a new member’s baptism before extending the right hand of fellowship, some Baptist churches have practically, if not intellectually, minimized the importance of this ordinance. Many pieces of evidence could be cited to note the importance of the ordinance; however, the “Great Commission” of Christ should suffice. Christ included many things by saying, “teach them to observe all things,” but he specifically pointed out “making disciples” and “baptizing.” The mention of this ordinance by name and immediately following the command to make disciples should adequately place emphasis on the ordinance.

Without the proper meaning, baptism is nothing more than the dunking of the individual in water. The proper meaning is essential to proper baptism. Does the recipient have to understand everything in theology? No. However, the subject must understand that baptism is not salvific, grants no additional grace, and does not insure sinlessness. Because the subject must understand, the subject cannot be an infant. The subject should also accept that baptism is the public profession of faith, identification with Christ, and the door to the local church.


IV. The Place for Baptism—the Local Church

An essential part of this discussion is the definition of a true church. Thus, later in this section, the definition of a true church will be discussed. However, for now it is enough to note that the ordinances (for this discussion, baptism) separate para-church groups, seminary classrooms, and private Bible studies from being churches. The ordinances logically are administered by the local church and more specifically true churches. Most Christian churches reject Mormon, Hindu, Scientology, or Muslim baptisms, should they perform them, because they are not true churches and the meaning of the ordinances is irrevocably harmed. This is not baptism into Christ but a false religion. Valid Christian baptism is into Christ alone. For proof of this one need only look at Acts 19:1-5 where Paul required rebaptism of a group of followers who had been baptized with John’s baptism but not Christ’s. If a baptism as closely related to Christ’s baptism as John’s would not do, then nothing other than baptism into Christ will do.

How does one receive baptism into Christ? Can a six-year-old boy in his backyard lead a friend to Christ and baptize him? Will the local church accept that baptism as valid? Typically this strikes us as unwise. Why? Because the ordinance should be practiced by the church and not by an individual, a seminary or a denomination. The gathered believers should see the person’s baptism and accept him or her into fellowship. It is a church ordinance. Thus, baptism must be associated with a local church. Moreover, it is wisest to have the candidate actually make a confession before we baptize them “upon the profession of faith.” Such an important profession should occur in front of as many members of the church as possible and be taken as a seriously responsibility of the local church. Proper baptism helps create the community desired by Christ for His churches.

One immediate question arises with regard to missionary baptisms. The missionary is sent by the local church for the purpose of establishing more churches. Nothing could have a closer church connection than missionary baptisms. By having baptism linked to the authority given by Christ to the local church, one may safeguard baptism and regenerate church membership by ruling out all false churches. Accurate wording here clarifies all the various movements which alter the Gospel message while also avoiding the problems of historical high-churchism. The problem arises when one’s definition of a “true church” is incorrect. If, as the Landmark movement did, one adds the incorrect requirements to the “being” of a church, then local church authority can be distorted and result in problems. Thus, this discussion will now address the proper definition of a “true church.”


The Definition of a True Church

Category 1: Being (esse)
A. Gospel
B. Ordinances
C. Believers intentionally gathered

Category 2: Well-Being (bene esse)
A. Offices (pastor and deacon)
B. Church Discipline
C. Baptism by immersion of believers
D. Memorial view of the Lord’s Supper
E. Regenerate congregation
F. Missionary focus
G. Expositional preaching, etc.

The above chart contains two classifications. These two classifications allow one to discuss the various marks of the true church without de-churching large majorities of the evangelical world. The first category contains what is essential for the “being” or existence of a true church. At the very minimum, you must have a few believers who have intentionally gathered for the purpose of being a church with the Gospel presented and the ordinances administered.

At a Minimum

Let us look at what happens should one of these be removed. If you remove the Gospel, you do not have anything Christian. This could be any number of cults, and it is not logical to conclude that such a gathering could constitute a Christian church. Thus, the Gospel must be present. If you remove the ordinances administered, then any Bible study group, seminary class, or para-church ministry could be a church. As this is certainly not the case, the ordinances must exist for the “being” of a church. The purpose of the believers gathered together demonstrates the intent to be a church. A true church is intentional and does not occur on accident. Furthermore, a true church at a minimum must contain some believers who intentionally gathered for the purpose of being a church.

Adding to the Minimum

Okay, so you want to move something from the “well-being” category to the “being” category? For argument’s sake and for clarity, let us explore the options. If the offices (pastor and deacon) are moved into the “being” of a church, then when the pastor leaves one church for another or retires, that church ceases being a true church for a time. In addition, a church plant with no elected deacons would not be a true church until such time as they had men qualified and elected. These two offices are essential to the wellbeing of a church. While a church may continue without one or both offices temporarily, a continuance of this state will result in negative consequences.

If church discipline is moved into the “being” of a church, then half of the Southern Baptist Convention, and most denominations which do not practice church discipline, have immediately been un-churched. Also, this means that one overlooked occurrence or improperly handled case results in the loss of being a true church. This was the contention of J.R. Graves against the First Baptist Church of Nashville and R.B.C. Howell in the middle of the 1800s. Church discipline protects the regenerate church membership, seeks restoration, and adds meaning to membership, but it does not belong in the marks of a true church. It adds greatly, however, to the “well-being” of a church.

If the ordinances “rightly administered,” as Calvin put it, are moved into the category of the “being” of a church, you have Landmarkism. In essence, you have just un-churched all Pedobaptist gatherings. While baptism is properly executed by immersion of believers, and while the Lord’s Supper is a memorial ordinance looking back at Christ’s death, around in fellowship, and forward in anticipation, the proper practice of these ordinances cannot be added to the “being” of a church without repeating historical mistakes.

While Baptists and dissenting groups through history may desire to move the believer’s church into a mark for the “being of the church,” Augustine’s arguments are well heeded. He argued against the Donatists that a truly regenerate church was not possible. While the Donatists and Baptists were and are right to seek after truly regenerate congregational membership, the requirement of such would result in constant evaluation of which churches are true and which are faulty. The effort and desire to have a regenerate church membership and the attainment of regenerate church membership adds greatly to the well-being of a church. Refusing to strive for a regenerate church is where Augustine erred. Giving up on seeking regenerate church membership harms the well-being of the church. Church discipline should help maintain this mark of the “wellbeing” of a church once it has been achieved. If one were to move regenerate church membership to the “being” of a church, then most churches of any tradition would be unchurched.

The marks of well-being could go on indefinitely. While a missionary focus and expositional preaching add to the “well-being” of a church, neither should be required for the “being” of a church. Other marks such as the Bible as the only standard for faith and practice, a desire to fulfill the Great Commission, and a ministry to widows and orphans should be beneficial. Any number of focused ministries could be added to the “wellbeing,” but the point is made. While many things add to the “well-being” of a church, the definition of the “being” of a true church should only include believers gathered together, presenting the Gospel, and administering the ordinances.


V. The Administrator of Baptism

Baptists have typically not focused upon the administrator of baptism as being essential. However, clarification of this area alleviates many problems. The largest problem arose with a group called the Donatists. This group sought to invalidate baptisms performed by ministers who had handed over the Scriptures during times of persecution. By holding that such traitorous ministers were not valid ministers, they placed too much authority for baptism in the administrator rather than in the ordinance and its meaning. Augustine argued against this movement, noting that if a minister were to have a moral failure late in his ministry, then that would invalidate all his previous baptisms. This places too much responsibility on the recipient to choose wisely who performs the baptism and creates some unscriptural power in the administrator. The spirituality of the administrator does not give credence to baptism.

Although the administrator does not determine validity, wisdom should be used in who performs the ordinance. The ordinance which must be connected to the local church needs for that church to appoint the administrator. While no biblical mandate exists for ordination of the administrator, the local church typically “sets apart” certain men for service to the church. Each church may appoint or set apart whomever it wishes to perform the ordinance, but within the bounds of Scripture. Typically, the pastor or a staff member will perform the ordinance. In their absence, a deacon could also administer the ordinance. This author sees practical problems with opening up too widely who can perform the ordinance. The administrator should be an example to the congregation and not just any member in good standing, which could include a recently divorced single parent, a part-time attending father, or an eight-year-old school boy. In the end, however, the validity of baptism is not derived from the administrator.


VI. The Formula for Baptism

A complete discussion of the formula throughout history would take more space than this brief article will allow. In brief, Scripture presents three possibilities concerning the formula for baptism. The most common formula can be found in Acts 2:38 where Peter states, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” In Acts 19:5, Paul mentions baptism in name of the Lord Jesus. This is also mentioned in Acts 8:16, and10:48. A second but related formula appears in Galatians 3:27, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ.” The third and most popular formula can only be found in Matt 28:19, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

This author believes that the different wording poses neither a problem nor represents mutually exclusive formulas. The reason for this belief comes from the early evidence of the use of the triune formula found only once in Scripture. The Didache states, “Baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Justin Martyr wrote, “For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.” Other early fathers could be quoted to demonstrate the use of the Trinitarian formula but for the purposes of this essay, the previously mentioned quotes should suffice.

What is essential is that baptism occurs in the name of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity. It is identification with Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, that is essential. Because some in this generation use the name Jesus but do not hold to the triune presentation of God found in the New Testament, the use of the triune formula given in Matt 28:19 is the best choice. The formula clarifies what the baptismal candidate is doing. The candidate is identifying himself with and pledging allegiance to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

There are some who insist upon baptism in “Jesus’ name” for salvation. This article has already dealt with the fact that baptism is not salvific and has given reasons why. It is enough to dismiss any argument vying for baptism in Jesus’ name alone to say that Jesus himself recommended the triune formula. The authority for baptism does not rest merely in the formula; otherwise they could be and often have been construed as magical words conveying some mystical infusion.

A Special Situation—Alien Immersion

Throughout history there has been an ongoing discussion of what is called “alien immersion.” This does not mean that one is immersed by an extraterrestrial being, but that a group not normally known to immerse has performed an immersion and a decision concerning the validity of that baptism must be adjudicated. Historically, many Baptists have rejected alien immersion based upon their definition of the church and the authority placed in proper ordination. This author, however, has chosen to travel a different road. Each case must be decided on an individual basis. The determining factor is not the church since the above prescribed definition of a true church allows for Pedobaptist churches to be true churches.

The determining factor is not the administrator or proper ordination. The determining factor is the ordinance itself. Was the ordinance performed with the proper subject, in the proper mode, and with the proper meaning by a true church? If so, then it is valid. While in this age of post-denominationalism, it may be possible to find such a case, that case would be rare.

For example, any Pedobaptist church performing immersions of believers would do so based upon the failure of that person to be baptized as a child and not upon conviction based on Scripture. Thus, the rare exception must be of a scripturallyinformed person requesting baptism by immersion as a believer from a Pedobaptist church that understands the true meaning of baptism. Logic contends that no such case would ever occur because such an informed person would not wish to unite and join with a church that held an opposing view. Thus, in the majority of instances, alien immersions have harmed the meaning of baptism enough to render their practice of the ordinance null and void. However, a rare valid exception may exist.

Conclusion

All of the six categories that have been discussed are inter-related to some degree. Offering a definition of what makes baptism valid always runs the risk of being misunderstood. This author offers the following definition to encourage further thought, discussion and research, understanding that it may yet be incomplete or inaccurate: Valid
baptism, the door to the local church, is performed by an appropriately selected administrator of a true church who immerses a believer in water for the purpose of profession of faith with and in the name of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, symbolizing the subject’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. A shorter definition of valid baptism would be: the immersion of a believer with the proper meaning by a true church.

118 comments:

SelahV said...

Brad: wow! and here I thought it was simply my act of obedience to show the world I was professing my death to self, risen in Christ to walk in His commands so the rest of the world could see Him in me.
When I was fully immersed in the water, I saw a complete picture of that. I haven't read your whole post yet, but I will. I'm gonna have to really spend some time with this one. Thanks. selahV

Anonymous said...

Brother Brad,

Excellent post. And the strong theological tie to the local church clearly provides an ecclessiological theology that is lacking in some areas today.

Blessings,
Tim

brad reynolds said...

Selah
Thank you. This is deep and I am enjoying it. Mat we all learn together.
God Bless
BR

brad reynolds said...

Tim
BINGO!
BR

CB Scott said...

Brad,

If this Dr. White is the same as the fellow that graduated from SEBTS it just goes to give more evidence to the fact that theological education in an institution that majors on a strong theological foundation for its students is worth its weight in gold as far as work in the Kingdom is concerned.

Dr. White has provided a well writtten and easy to understand position paper on Baptisim from a biblical, historical and Christian prospective.

An argument against this work will only betray a flawed and extremely weak ecclesiology from anyone who makes an effort to counter it.

Excellent work on White's part and an excellent and most timely post on your part. Thank you both.

cb

Mike Woodward said...

I was particularly attracted to the section on the The Administrator of Baptism, and Alien Immersion. How would the recent extra requirement for IMB missionaries that the admnistrator/church of their baptism believe in eternal security fit into this article?

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Good article and generally well supported. A couple of items, though. First, his 'support' for why baptism (a) is a public profession and (b) is the initiatory rite into the local church is weak and appears to be a bit of an 'afterthought' composition. I'm not saying that those are not factors involved in the baptism rite, but his treatment of them was terse. Second, I've struggled for quite a while on the issue of 'who' should administer baptism. The prima fascia argument presented here is that it should be someone selected by the church as the 'church' is who performs the rite. I obviously think that Phillip was an 'extension' of the church when he performed the baptism of the eunuch, but carried to it's logical conclusion, any person could be seen as an 'extension' of the church, and thus could baptize at any place and any time. He does rightly state that there is no Biblical precedent for who should perform baptisms. Logical deduction, however, does provide insight (I believe) as follows: If we are ALL commanded to 'make disciples' (as opposed to only those 'appointed' by the church to make disciples) and IF Christ made no distinction between who should 'make disciples' and who should 'baptize' (i.e. commanding 'the church' to make disciples and 'the pastors' to baptize), then it logically follows that we are ALL to baptize. I'm not sure what that means for me as a Baptist - except that I'm trying to come to the Scriptures without any preconceptions based on historical tradition. Obviously, as with any ordinance/worship gathering, baptism should be done in an orderly manner and in an attitude that reflects the sanctity of the ordinance, but can that be accomplished when fathers are allowed to baptize their children? Or friends allowed to baptize friends who have recently been regenerated? I think it can. As with all Bible students, I've not reached the 'here's the correct answer' plateau - I'm just trying to muddle through what the Bible says vs. what Baptists teach.

Grace and peace,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

CB
He is the same.

Mike
Excellent question and I will do my best to answer it in my post on baptism which will come after a few my baptism posts. But some here may take your bait and it would be a profitable discussion
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL

If Dr. White were writing a book I think we could perhaps expect him to cover every angle to the degree that we would all appreciate, however this was a paper so it by nature is concise.

Concerning your other concern. You bring up a very valid point and I appreciate your astuteness here. Thank You. Dr. White points out that the great commission was given to the disciples who would in turn give it to the local church in Jerusalem. Yes, every Christian who is saved TODAY usually has access to His command (via the Bible) individually, but since context means something, we know: 1) the early church did not have the book of Matthew; 2) the commission was given to the disciples; 3) the disciples in turn gave it to the local church (not the universal church, for no one knows who that is and the only visible expression of the church is the local church). Therefore, Dr. White rightly concludes that the Great commission was inevitably given to the local church, so that the church was responsible to make sure its members would go and make disciples, teach them and baptize them.

Quite frankly, I think a church should be selective: 1) on who they send on mission trips (hopefully it is someone who grasps the gospel he will be sharing); 2) on who teaches on her behalf; and 3) on who baptizes. Yes, I believe there is a responsibility for all to witness and to be sure those they "win" to Christ are taught and baptized but I think this comes under the covenantal binding and authority of the local church.

Imagine if just anyone went around baptizing everyone he leads to Christ with no accountability to the local church. Talk about dangerous and a lack of discipleship, and accountability. But then one may say, what if he keeps them accountable? Then I would reply, you mean like: 1) intentionally gathering, 2) sharing the gospel, and 3)practicing the ordinances? Sounds like a church:)

There is a reason Baptists teach things: the Bible says things:)
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
you're appealing to emotion in your analogy of 'Imagine if just anyone went around baptizing everyone he leads to Christ with no accountability to the local church'. There is no basis to believe that would ever happen any more than 'Imagine if just anyone went around discipling everyone he leads to Christ with no accountability to the local church'. That's a mighty leap to go from fathers baptizing their children to 'anyone going around baptizing with no accountability to the church'.
You said that Dr. Wright rightly (no pun intended, I hope?) concludes that the local church is responsible to make sure it's members witness, disciple, and baptize. I agree 100%. To make the leap that because it's a church ordinance, only those appointed by the church are to administer baptism is analogous to saying that since the 'church' is commanded to disciple, only those appointed by the church are to administer discipling (as Christ made no distinction between the administration of discipling and baptizing). I'll repeat what I said earlier: Should baptizing be done in an orderly fashion and in a manner befitting the sanctity of the ritual? ABSOLUTELY. Can that decorum be met while allowing persons besides the pastor to baptize others? I believe it can and I have no objective reason to believe that people will be going around willy nilly dunking people as you suggest. That is a straw man argument my friend.

PS - just because Baptists teach things does not make them right my disillusioned friend. And just because Baptists teach things doesn't mean they're doing it because the Bible is saying things. :) That's why we must weigh all that we do (ritual and tradition) and all that we teach against the pure measure of Holy Writ.

Grace and peace,

PTL

Timothy Cowin said...

Brad,
If you see fit to not post because of length I understand, but wanted you to read some thoughts.

Dr. White has done a wonderful job of presenting a modified Landmark doctrine on baptism. This position is not consistent with all of Baptist History, nor is it spelled out in the Bible. As opposed to Dr. White, I, along with other much more distinguished Baptists, down through the ages, disagree with his his iv and v about baptism.

Please consider what John Gill has said about Baptism (no obscure person, and one I will read before Graves on anyday;)

“When I say baptism is not a church ordinance, I mean baptism is not an ordinance administered in the church, but out of it, and in order to admission into it, and communion with it; it is preparatory to it, and a qualification for it; it does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church; persons must first be baptized, and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were; a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it.”

Gill also makes this telling observation:

“So Saul, when converted, was immediately baptized by Ananias, without any previous knowledge and consent of the church; and, it was many days after this that he proposed to join himself to the disciples, and was received, Acts 9.18,19,23,26-28”

Why is Baptism more then just a local church ordinance?
1. Matthew 28
Jesus commanded that his disciples should baptize. There is no mention of this being done by the church. Is the great commission given to just a local church or to all disciples? Is “Baptize them” given to just a local church or to all disciples? (I know, some PHD’s will say, “yeah it says that but here is why you can’t take it on face value”)

2. Acts 8
Philip baptized the Ethiopian. It was not done in the presence of the church. He did not say, let’s go to the church. He baptized him.

3. Acts 9
Saul’s baptism as pointed out by John Gill, preceded his introduction to the church.

4. Our confessions do not have a long, consistent view that reflects Dr. Whites claims, consider:

"1644 London Confession
Section XLI On Baptism.
The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance (of baptism), the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples. (Isa. 8:16; Matt. 28:16-19; John 4:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Matt. 26:26)"


"1646 FIRST LONDON BAPTIST CONFESSION
The phrase, “church ordinance” is not used. Instead, it reads, “Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ.”"

"1742 PHILADELPHIA BAPTIST CONFESSION
The phrase “church ordinance” is not used. Instead, it reads, “Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus.”"

"1858 ABSTRACT OF PRINCIPLES
The phrase “church ordinance” is not used. Instead, it reads, “Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus.”"

"1925 BFM and the New Hampshire Confession of Faith.
The phrase “church ordinance” is not used. Instead, it says, “the ordinances of Christ.”"

Not a slam-dunk for Dr. White by any means...

Quick question, Why did our forefathers resist the connection of baptism with the power of the church? We should all quikly be able to anser this.... Lets not so quicly forget the blood that birthed our baptistic movement:(

Timothy

Anonymous said...

What do is meant by a 'true church'?? The one you believe it? The one that a person believes in? the one they are born into?

brad reynolds said...

PTL and Timothy and Nessie

I will respond when I get back...going to a wedding rehearsal:)

One note...PTL my friend please be more careful with your accusations as if I was doing what I blogged against. If you will reread my comment to you I was appealing to the mind not the emotional tug of father and son:)
Further, I don't think you will find anywhere in my comments where I have said only pastors or ordained ministers can baptize but rather baptism should take place under the authority of the local church, please don't make assumptions my brother. If she says a father can baptize a son then so be it...but I agree with Dr. white when he implies it would be unwise to allow any father to baptize a son under the authority of the local church (I am not sure the town drunk would be wise).
BR

Jeffro said...

Dr. White wrote,
"If church discipline is moved into the “being” of a church, then half of the Southern Baptist Convention, and most denominations which do not practice church discipline, have immediately been un-churched."

Brad isn't it sad that most, if not all of the churches that lead our convention in Baptism would not fit into the category of "well?" Do you think this is because we focus more on how many baptisms we can generate, rather than on a regenerate church membership?

With that out of the way. It is nice to actually see a post by a Baptist on what Baptism is, rather than a push for more baptisms. I have quite a few paedobaptist friends, and I believe that we must understand why we Baptists are not paedobaptists.

God Bless

CB Scott said...

Brad,

In no way is Dr. White's position a "modified" Landmark position. Dr. White's position pre-dates any and all Landmark positions on Baptism. In truth the Landmark position is a distorted presentation of the position of which Dr. White has reflected in his paper.

cb

Wade Burleson said...

Nessie,

Never in my wildest imaginations did I dream that a woman, standing on her head, would actually ask the very questions that cut to the heart of the debate within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Well done. :)

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
The emotional appeal was that of unwarranted fright (you know, 'what if the town drunk started baptizing people; what on earth would we do then?) and I think it a valid charge. It is a straw-man appeal and you know it is. There is no objective basis for implying that people would go around willy-nilly dunking other people. I, too, think it unwise to allow 'just anyone' to baptize - although I have no reason to believe that would EVER happen. I would say, however, that the only Biblical qualification for baptizing is the same one that qualifies a person to 'disciple' others, and namely that is that one be a 'disciple' him/her self. Now, you might ask, how do we determine who is a disciple and who isn't? I would say that it would practically be roughly similar to how we determine someone is qualified to be a Sunday School teacher (as that is probably the most obvious example of a disciple - or at least one who disciples - in the local church).
I would guess that you concur, at least in general, with the article you've posted, so I'll quote from Dr. White as follows: "Typically, the pastor or a staff member will perform the ordinance. In their absence, a deacon could also administer the ordinance." So, you're right, you never alluded to the pastor or deacon being the administrators, but Dr. White surely did.
And why shouldn't it be 'just a member in good standing'? Is there a Biblical mandate against that? Where does the Bible say that a divorcee cannot perform the rite of baptism? If I may coin a new phrase, I see that as 'exclusive legalism'.
Please forgive me if you did not intend an emotional appeal - it did, however, come across as such, thus the comment.

PS - the 'father/son' thing is not a heartstring pull, but rather an objective example of who would be most fitting to perform the baptism of the 'new' Christian - the one who 'raised him up in the way he should go'.

Grace and peace,

PTL

RevBubbaBear said...

C.B.

You are correct. This is an awesome paper on Baptism. I agree with you that those who write in opposition to it display their theological ignorance. Some have already began the process (sorry fellers no harm intended).

I tried to post on Wade's blog to ask his oppenion, but I am blocked. Since you have access to Wade will you ask him to comment this Baptism post?

Bubba

Brad,

Have you seen on Wade's site where Jim Champion has created a new webpage to further pick apart the "junior pastor". Yet you take the heat for not being sensitive. What a world Huh?

brad reynolds said...

PTL

If baptism is not an ordinance to the church but to individual believers than can you explain to me why an individual couldn’t go around witnessing and then baptizing? It doesn’t sound like a straw man to me. If it is an ordinance to the church then we are in agreement. If it is not, then why is the Lord’s Supper an ordinance to the church but baptism is not…or perhaps you believe the Lord’s Supper isn’t either.

Further, my point with the town-drunk was that the church had to have some oversight over Baptism…generally churches can trust that oversight to the pastor…this being the case I would be fine with individuals baptizing people they led to the Lord provided they did so under the oversight of the pastor/church. Notice, Dr. White said “typically.” I am not sure a divorcee could not baptize but I would conquer with Dr. White it may not be wise to allow a recently divorced individual because unless they were married to a lost person they have confessed to all the world they have a hard-heart.

PS – I never said just because Baptist teach things make them right…I implied that Baptist teach them because they are right…if anyone feels Baptists are wrong I as a Baptist feel they have soul-competency to leave the church, some denominations are not quite as open-minded.

Hope this helps
BR

brad reynolds said...

Timothy

Excellent quotes. I would simply argue that Dr. Gill was wrong for reasons presented in this paper (which does not distract from his scholarship). Concerning your other observations: 1) Matt 28 – He gave it to the disciples who also began and gave it to the local church. By the time we get to Acts the disciples were part of a local church; 2) Acts 8 – Surely you are not implying that Philip was not under the authority of the local church as he was out sharing; Acts 9 is not clear if Ananias baptized Paul by himself or with other disciples with him under the authority of the church which was in hiding at the time – to argue he did it outside the authority of the church is an argument from silence.

Concerning the confessions: just because church ordinance is not used does not mean it is not meant. Further, if Baptism is not a church ordinance then according to the 1742 confession neither is the Lord’s Supper which confuses me as to how one can practice church discipline in the local church of the Lord’s Supper is not an ordinance to the church.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Nessie,
Welcome. Some of the best comments here come from ladies. Selah is very insightful.

A great question. I believe Dr. White answered that: 1. Gospel; 2. Ordinances; 3. Believers intentionally gathered.

Some would argue the True church is the invisible church but such neglects the meaning and use of ecclesia in the NT. Ecclesia was used to translate the Hebrew word qahal in the Septuagint. Qahal meant assembling. Ecclesia literally means, “called out” and in its secular use in NT times it meant a gathering of persons.

In fact in the NT it carries both meanings a “called out group of people who gather together”…Dr. Millard Erickson says, “The local sense of the term is evidently intended in the vast majority of occurrences of ecclesia.” Dr. Akin maintains it is well over 90% of the time. Some may like to take the less than 10% and make it a majority but I am unwilling to do that to the text.

I hope this helps and you are welcome here anytime.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Jeffro,
It is truly sad when churches do not practice church discipline. It is incredibly uplifting when we hear of thousands of souls being baptized in the name of Jesus…I like to assume these are regenerate persons.

Would that our churches shared Christ, Baptized, and kept each other accountable as the local (not the universal) church should do.
BR

brad reynolds said...

CB
I agree
BR

CB Scott said...

Billy Bear,

This post is not intended (in my opinion) to seek Wade's position nor mine, nor Brad's. This is a paper written by a knowledgeable Southern Baptist.

Wade is a knowledgeable Southern Baptist also. He also knows how to locate Brad's blog and he can read the post for himself. He is free to comment if he chooses due to the fact that Brad allows him, cb, Ben, Marty, Art, Bob and other known SBC Mobsters the opportunity to comment on his blog.

Therefore, if Wade desires to comment I am sure he will. I have been given the opportunity to do so and I await future engagement with those that are wiling to speak to Dr. White's excellent work.

Again, the post is open to comment and Brad is asking that personalities be left out on this one so let's submit to his directive and just debate the post without concern as to the idenity of those that care to comment.

cb

Anonymous said...

This is a great paper. I read it when it first came out, but I think you are doing us all a service by making it available on your blog.

Has that baby come yet?

NAF

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Baptism is an ordinance (at least based on Mat. 28) in the same sense that discipling is an ordinance (at least the way I see them). And yes, I think that 'the church' should be responsible for ALL the activities she engages in, so we are in agreement that the commandment to baptize was given to 'the church' (i.e. all members) as was the command to disciple. Only it is to be carried out in an orderly manner and in a manner befitting the sanctity of the ordinance. Isn't that what I said to begin with? I, like you, would be hesitant to let 'just anyone' perform the rite, but the only Biblical restriction I can see is the same as for church discipline - if someone is living in open rebellion to Biblical standards they shouldn't be acting as administrators of the church (i.e. baptizing). Other than that, I don't see much Biblical precedent for who should and who shouldn't baptize.

PS - I notice you allowed Bear's 'backhanded' comment that all who disagree with you or Dr. White are Theologically ignorant - Nice, REAL nice Clark (to quote from Christmas Vacation).

Grace and peace,

PTL

Timothy Cowin said...

Brad,

What kind of an argument is this,
"just because church ordinance is not used does not mean it is not meant."

Ok, using your logic, I say just because you say it is meant does not mean it is meant unless you prove it....

In the process of making these confessions, every word is scrutinized. My point is just that there has been a changing of our understanding on this subject over the years, Look again at the 1644 London Confession and then look at the progression or regression, depending on how you look at it, to the 2000BFM.

I just do not think that there is just 1 way to look at this.

CB and Brad
What is different from Dr. White's view from the Landmark view?

Tim

Ben Stratton said...

I have mixed feelings about Dr. White's paper. While I agree with where he ends up, I disagree with him that pedobaptist churches and churches that accept non-believers into membership are true churches. How can a church that practices infant baptism or infant membership be a New Testament church? I think of this issue, Dr. White didn't want to be identified with Landmarkism, so he backed away from saying this. However infant baptism and infant membership are major issues and on the basis of Romans 16:17, I don't see how groups that believe and practice them can be considered true N.T. churches. While people in that group are no doubt saved, they are not a "biblical" church.

Anyone interested in knowing what Baptists have historically believed about alien immersion and the administer of baptism, please try to find a copy of J.H. Grime's little booklet "A History of Alien Immersion and Valid Baptism". Grime gives undeniable evidence that the majority of Baptists (long before J.R. Graves came on the scene) believed that non-Baptist immersions should be rejected.

brad reynolds said...

To All
I have a very busy day today as I will be officiating a wedding of a couple of students of mine and also doing some other needed things around the house.

I will try and publish comments when I get a chance through out the day but will not be able to respond until later this afternoon or evening. Please do not take that as an indicator that I am ignoring your comments/questions. I am not, many excellent comments and questions already today and I will seek to dialogue to the best of my ability later on...if we disagree let's keep trying to do so graciously and as CB pointed out let's try to stay away from personalities.

Tim I think you'll find your answer in Ben's comment. Dr. White does not define the TRUE church as the Baptist church.

Although since the church in Jerusalem was Baptist in its beliefs and since it was located in South Jerusalem I think it is fair to say it was a Southern Baptist Church:) - Just kidding (somewhat).
Thanks
BR

Anonymous said...

Brother Timoty,

I do not presume to answer for Brother's CB or Brad, but I believe if you will read Brother Ben Stratton's disagreement you can spot the answer to your question.

It appears Dr. White accurately stopped where he needed to stop--defining the "true church" on criteria outside the basics of Christianity. That is where Landmarkism's doctrine is off the mark. Once you begin defining the true church based on salvation plus you leave the basics of the true church as defined in Scripture.

Blessings,
Tim

Timothy Cowin said...

Tim, Brad,

Duly noted.

Wade Burleson said...

There is really no need for me to comment in this string regarding what I think about what Dr. White has written because . . .

Timothy Cowin has refuted the key points of disagreement we both have with Dr. White's paper quite brilliantly. Timothy uses the writings of John Gill for his refutation.

John Gill was called by Spurgeon, "My mentor in Israel."

It was said in 18th Century Baptist life that no preacher was worth his salt unless he had Gill in his library.

Gill is the only evangelical writer in the history of Christianity to write an expositional commentary on the Old Testament and New Testament from the original languages, and only after his exposition, prepared a systematic theological treatise. Calvin himself skipped Revelation in his exposition.

Gill had no formal education since he was a non-conformist in the day of Anglican education at Oxford and Cambridge. He was awarded an honorary doctorate for his work on the Hebrew tittle. His famous quote when bestowed "Dr." was "I never thought it, sought it, or bought it" (i.e. his doctorate).

His work on Hebrew linguistics remains unsurpassed to this day. His Greek and Latin excelled even the Anglican theologian and friend Augustus Toplady. When Toplady was asked about Gill, he said, "Never has the kingdom seen such a mind."

All that to say, before I ever read Gill on baptism, I had formed my view of it from Scripture.

It was comforting to me to know that exactly what I saw the Scripture to teach was the orthodox, majority view of English Baptists until the late 1800's.

The early American confessions took the English view of baptism, but American Baptist were quickly overcome by Landmark sentiments.

I believe Landmarkism is based upon a faulty understanding of the ekklesia, and as a result, the ordinances of Christ have been turned into the ordinances of an 'institution,' and if you ask a Landmark about the proper institution for the dispensing of the ordinances, he will say it must be a 'church like ours.'

Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Christ. The church of Jesus Christ is responsible to insure that they are carried out in a Biblical manner, but the question becomes "What church?"

My answer: The ekklesia --- the called out people of God --- not a religious insitution with a hierarchy of authority (clergy or priests) who bestow the favor of God upon the laypeople (those of a lesser class).

Thanks Tim, for shedding light on this subject.

In His Grace,

Wade

CB Scott said...

PTL,

To say, as did Billy Bear, (and I agree) that theological ignorance is a reality in this area of Baptist doctrine is not a "backhanded comment". It is simply the truth.

Not only is there theological ignorance within the ranks of the SBC, but throughout the world. If that were not so the Twin Towers would still be standing in New York and we would not be sending our children to Iraq to fight against its consequences.

Theological ignorance brought forth the need for the Spirit to move Paul to write to the church in Corinth. Theological ignorance is the reason we support six seminaries to educate future leaders for the churches that call themselves Southern Baptist. We do not want leaders that are ignorant of Systematic, Biblical, Historical and Practical Theology. In addition the SBC institutions that I was graced to attend did not want us to be ignorant of Dogmatic or Contemporary Theology. Therefore we were expected to study those disciplines also.

It is due to the fact that I know Dr. White was very diligent in his effort to not leave his educational experience ignorant of theological truth in the disiplines mentioned above that I speak so boldly, and with whatever humility I can scrape up in my not so humble character, to say there is ignorance among us concerning Baptism and ecclesiology in general as evidence by, not juct comments on this post, but in many comments given over the last year on various post throughout Blog Town.

It is my prayer that those that read Dr. White's paper will, indeed, take their Bible and read with an open mind, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten them. If this option is excercised I believe much ignorance about this whole matter will be eliminated.

Tim,

Read the book by J.H. Grimes that Ben Stratton mentioned in his comment and you will get the Landmark position and see the differences in such and that presented by Dr. White.

As you compare the two you will see the errors of Grimes ecclesiology as you will if you read Gill"s work in another direction of thought regarding ecclesiology.

cb

CB Scott said...

Tim,

You have hit the "Ten Ring" and more.

cb

brad reynolds said...

I'll try to get to respond later.

For now let me say Wade's point is essential.

Without a correct understanding of ecclesia one will be confused on baptism! If one ignores the "vast majority" of its use in the NT, as well as the Hebrew word the Jewish scholars used to translate ecclesia, as well as the secular use, one will arrive at a faulty view of ecclesia and thus a faulty view of baptism.
BR

CB Scott said...

Brad,

Let me also concur with Wade and say a faulty understanding of the doctrine of ecclesiology will directly affect one's view of proper Baptism.

cb

posttinebraelux said...

CB,
If you will re-read my post, I did not say that there was not theological ignorance - one generally has only to look in the mirror to see theological ignorance. My angst is toward the implication that the qualification for theological ignorance is disagreement with Dr. White (which I do on a few points) or with Dr. Reynolds (which I do on a few points). Should you subscribe to the same philosophy as Bear, (i.e. that those who disagree with Dr. White or Dr. Reynolds are theologically ignorant), then I must chastise you as well my brother for invoking inflammatory rhetoric where it is quite unnecessary to do so.
Would it not be more profitable, my brother, to simply state the issues as you see them, respond gently and lovingly when you disagree, and leave the name-calling out? It is, in my humble opinion, much more Christlike to present logical, cohesive, and Scriptural arguments than it is to refer to someone who disagrees with you as 'theologically ignorant'. Don't you agree?

Grace and peace,

PTL

Timothy Cowin said...

Brother CB & Brad,

I have read the suggested work and you can see that I referred to Dr. White's view as a "modified landmark" position, and I still think that is exactly what it is and what you and Brad and the IMB hold to.

As I noted, our previous confessions do not agree with Dr. White's view, nor do our earliest Baptist theologians. As Brad likes to say: I am standing where we have stood:)

CB maybe I am out of touch but I do not understand your "Ten Ring" comment?

I would suggest you read some Baptist history and understand why our forefather's so vehementy fought against the abuses that tied the ordinances and the right to even preach the Gospel, to those "approved" by an eccleiseastical authority. Many of them fought all the way to English prisons and even to the stake for what they saw was a Christ given right!


Tim

volfan007 said...

hey ptl,

the sky is blue.

brad and all,

i was sprinkled on top of the head as an infant. i was sprinkled on top of the head after i was confirmed by a methodist church? should that baptism be accepted by the sbc? or, by your church?

later, i was baptised at bellevue baptist church in memphis, tn. we left the methodist church due to its liberalism. after i got saved at the age of nineteen, i got baptised again....real baptism....believers baptism.

personally, i feel that we must set boundaries on what baptism we will accept and what we wont. and, i dont think it would be landmarkism if we said that the only baptism we would accept would be sbc churches baptism. i mean, what if a mormon said that he really got saved, and then was immersed by the mormon church....would wade and his followers accept this baptism? or a church of christ baptism?

volfan007

brad reynolds said...

Nathan.
Baby Reynolds comes in approx. 3 weeks:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

CB,
You are right my brother about ecclesiology. If these will get the meaning of ecclesia then they will grasp Baptism.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I really don’t see where you are in disagreement but you are obviously free to believe you are:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,

My point to which you responded this morning was this…just because the wording “church ordinance” is not used, does not mean it is denied. To imply such is an argument from silence.

By “modified” landmark position, if you mean I am a Baptist than I admit it:)

It appears that the arguments for the ordinance being to the universal or invisible church rather than the local visible church is coming from confessions and writings of a Baptist minister. While both are valid documents and most enlightening and educational, neither are Scripture. I shall go to Scripture to evidence ecclesia meaning the local church.

Of the 114 times ecclesia is used in the NT at least 109 is in reference to the local visible church…if the ordinances were given to the Elect or to the redeemed or to the family of God I could see your point but they were given to the ecclesia.

Ecclesia is a compound word from ek and Kaleo. Ek means “out of” and Kaleo means “to call.” Thus, it means “to call out of.” And yet, any Greek lexicon will inform its readers that the word during NT times meant an assembly, or to assemble, or a gathering. It’s origin came from the Greek city states of the past that would have a town crier who would “call out” a group of people to assemble for town business. An assembly is much more in line with a local visible church than some universal invisible church.

Perhaps your understanding is gleaned from history rather than Scripture. The universal church received much attention during the 17th and 18th centuries, thus the writings you reference. Why was this the case? Some would argue it was the reformation and a “recovering” of scripture. However, the culture may help to understand.

Before the Reformation, the church was everyone who was born into the state, but reformers understood this not to be the case in the NT, they preached the difference, many at the cost of their lives.

While in hiding and certainly not a part of the Catholic church they began recognizing that they were part of Christ’s true body, even though, to express it locally and visibly (outside the Catholic church) would require their lives, hence the adoption of the terms “Invisible and Universal.”

Further, the universal invisible church is as intangible as it is invisible.

When people talk of "the universal Church of Christ" they employ an unscriptural expression. What they really mean is "the Family of God."
BR

CB Scott said...

Tim C.

I was actually speaking to Tim R. relating to the Ten Ring.

It is a "Shooting Range" term that roughly means "hitting the mark"

My bad for not being sensitive to the great number of Mothers that named their sons ,of Baptist faith, Tim. There are many of you guys out there and only one Cassius Brutus:-)


Brad,
Your comment relating to the local and universal church hit the "Ten Ring"

PTL,

Read again my first sentence and notice the words: "in this AREA of Baptist doctrine...." Futhermore, I did not say to disagree with Brad or Thomas is theological ignorance. I disagree with Brad often. Relating to Baptism I agree with him absolutely.

I am not speaking of "philosophy" relating to Billy Bear. I am speaking to a subject of theology inwhich Billy Bear and I have a common area of agreement.

To use the words "theological ignorance" is in no way inflammatory. Now, if I had used the words "theologically stupid" that would have been inflammatory. There is a difference.

The truth is we are all ignorant in some area of theology. (Consider the examples of Gill and Grimes on ecclesiology)

Profitable? It is always "profitable" to tell the truth.

Frankly, in my NOT so humble opinion", I was about as gentle as possible with people in an arena that are surely, by now, eating "meat" and not still on "milk".

cb

SelahV said...

Somebody! Anybody! Click on my name and go to my profile. I don't care if you don't read it, just click on it so my hit counter will go one more number up. I just happened to look at it and if you look at my profile, I will go to 667. I really don't want to be the other number. Gives me the creeps. selahV

SelahV said...

Volfan: How come you're questioning Church of Christ baptism? I thought Church of Christ was the ONLY baptism. :)
Good thing my daddy got saved in the First Baptist Church of Triangle, Virginia before he off and married a Church of Christ lady, huh? I think he's been baptized four times now. Full immersion. Poor ol' daddy, he's so mixed up now. When daddy was first saved, he use to go around sharing Jesus with people all the time, in the jails as a jailer, to all his lost 6 siblings (who to this day none accepted Christ's gift of salvation and there is only one left, now). He did lead a man to Jesus in the nursing home who went to another church and was baptized. Avery is the sweetest dearest Christian you'd want to meet. Daddy loves the Lord. I love to hear him pray. He wouldn't have been a missionary though. He's been divorced four times. When he married the my third mother (LOL), her daughter was married to a Church of Christ preacher. I was a baby in the Lord of about 10 months. She told me that if my dad had died before he was baptized in the Church of Christ, that I would have buried him thinking he'd be in heaven, and she would have buried him knowing he wasn't. I just looked at her and laughed. She tried for years to get me baptized so I could go to heaven with my dad when he died. I just kept telling her that I appreciated her concern. I guess there's folks that might say Daddy's not even an elect, too. Oh well. Guess we'll debate that when we're sitting around in heaven for eternity, huh? SelahV

Wade Burleson said...

Volfann,

We examine one's FAITH and baptism.

I have yet to meet a Mormon that believes Christ's work alone for his salvation.

Thus, no, his membership would be rejected in our church for a faulty faith and baptism.

SelahV said...

Brad: I think my husband is in trouble. According to Wade, "It was said in 18th Century Baptist life that no preacher was worth his salt unless he had Gill in his library."
I was going to go see if I could read some of Gill but my husband said he doesn't have Gill in his library. Does that mean the 23 plus years he's been in the ministry is for naught?

I told him he needed to have Gill in his library and he just did what he usually does when I tell him he needs to do something. He looked at me with that look men give their wives when they say you oughta do this and you oughta do that, then he asked, "why?" Then he went back to reading his Bible in preparation for Sunday School tomorrow. Now I ask you, Brad, how's a woman to learn this way? SelahV

P.S. I see that Gill had no formal education, so maybe it doesn't matter since my husband only went to Boyce Bible School. What do you think? Of course, if Wade can come to the same conclusions that Gill espoused before he even read Gill, then maybe there is hope for my husband.

I'll just keep telling him what I'm reading here on your blog from everyone. Maybe I ought to get him a book by Gill for Christmas. What do you think? At least his salt would be worth more then, don't ya think? I don't know if he'd read it though. He just keeps on reading one Bible after another. Every time I turn around, he's buying another version. I just keep reading my Amplified, then if something doesn't stick right in my brain, I switch over to a couple of other versions for another perspective.

Oh well, I don't know what my comment had to do with baptism, but I just thought I'd ask if all the preachers that comment here have a Gill in their libraries. Of course this won't be an accredited poll if ya'll answer.

Blessings to Kelton and mommy!
SelahV

Jeffro said...

Volfan,

Did you join Belleview when you left the Methodist church? Or did you wait to join when you were saved and baptized "again" at 19?

God Bless

brad reynolds said...

Selah
You are cracking me up:)

Anyway, Gill is one of my heroes also. But your husband is wise...while it is beneficial to read the writings of man it is far more beneficial to study the writings of God.
BR

Wade Burleson said...

Selah,

You are cracking me up as well

:)

With your logic we should remove Dr. White's paper from Brad's site.

:)

It is the Bible, but a wise man will always look for the comments of wiser men than himself, but of course, if a man finds it impossible to find such people, then that is when the trouble begins.

volfan007 said...

i dont think that i have gill in my library. i dont think i have gill in my home either. and, i am pretty sure that he's not in my car.

jeffro,

i joined bellevue when we left the methodist church. when i came forward, i gave all the correct answers to the questions they ask about salvation. i knew these things in my head, and i had prayed and went to church and such all my life. so, no, i was not saved at that time. i got saved later, at the age of nineteen. i got baptised after that. that was my real baptism.

wade,

what if the mormon said that he got saved...really saved....and showed evidence of it....and said that he was immersed at the mormon church. would yall require him to be baptised again?


volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I think we probably are in agreement 'philosophically' regarding the administration of baptism, but I think we'd probably disagree 'practically' regarding the administration. I may be reading too much into your comments, but I believe you'd be a little more restrictive than would I when selecting those who 'should' perform baptisms and those who 'shouldn't' perform baptisms. I'm also not nearly so concerned about 'widening the tent' as you are, but then, I'm not a professor in a SB seminary either. I'm much more concerned with whether a Christian behaves like a Christian than whether the SB tent is broadened. Neither emphasis is wrong, just different - I attribute the difference to positions (i.e. SB professor vs. lay Christian).

Volfan,
Astute observation.

CB,
You and I will probably agree to disagree on what is edifying and what is not. It has been my experience that the term 'ignorant' however benign it's 'true' meaning, is generally seen as inciteful and thus I try to avoid using it in situations where it can be construed as such. But we digress from the post brother.

To all and no one in particular,
I think baptism as a rite is important becuase we're commanded to do so. I don't, however, place a significant amount of stock in the 'regeneratedness' of the one being baptized as being dunked initiates no change of character. I tend to be more concerned about whether that person reflects Christ in their attitudes, actions, and conversations than in whether or not they were baptized.

Grace and peace,

PTL

davidinflorida said...

Ivory Towers,... Its nice that we are so blessed in the USA that we can sit back and debate the laws of Baptism.
In other countries, such as China, North Korea, and Cuba etc where it is dangerous to be a Christian, people are being Baptized in 50 gallon drums and buckets of water as their hearts compel them to be Baptized, not church rules.
2 COR 3:2-3 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
Do you want to debate these people about their style of Baptism?
Get real.......

TruthOfActs said...

Brad,
I don’t know if this has been brought up, as I only skimmed the comments, but if after many years of baptizing, a pastor decides he is lost, do the ones he has baptized have to be re-baptized?

Just a picky question to show the importance is upon the one under the water and his relationship to Jesus.
Rex Ray

brad reynolds said...

PTL
My restriction would be that the person baptizing would be one allowed by the local church to baptize. I fully believe in local church autonomy…although I think it wise if he/she not have a bad testimony.

My concern stems from going to a seminary and hearing liberalism, not teaching at a seminary. If our seminaries revert back to where we were then the result will be many more “Christians” believing wrong and thus living wrong…since belief leads to action.
BR

brad reynolds said...

David,
I want to be fair to your comment. Are you saying we should not debate whether a person should be sprinkled or not…simply because some Christians in Iran are sprinkled for lack of water coupled with the fact they may not live long enough to be immersed in a river?

God has certainly blessed us to have more time to study and show ourselves approved, for that we should be grateful and responsible.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Rex,
The key is not the pastor but the authority of the local church.
BR

brad reynolds said...

To All
Much has been said about this, and obviously some disagree with Baptism being an ordinance to the local church. May I inquire of all those who disagree to interact with the NT. Selah, rightly pointed out the Bible is sufficient. Now, quoting others is certainly beneficial and we can and should learn from others, however, to assume their words are equal with Scripture is an assumption I think none of us will make.

Therefore, for my growth, as well as others, please interact with the text. I have shown what ecclesia meant, can anyone tell my how you can take the very clear meaning of ecclesia as an assembly and its use (109 out 114 times) for the local church and somehow make it the universal church.
BR

Timothy Cowin said...

Brad,

The issue is: Where does true authority come from? You like to talk about the authority of the local church. I do not see this clearly taught in Scripture, but I do know that Baptists first understood authority to come from Christ and not an ecclesiastical entity. The ordinances were seen to be the ordinances of Christ. Read carefully the confession of the first Baptists:

1644 London Confession
Section XLI On Baptism.
The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance (of baptism), the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.

It is sad that we have so quickly forgotten the lessons that the first Baptists would teach us. Ecclesiastical authority is to be guarded against at all times, it is the cause of much persecution and even death.

You should know that our first Baptists were told that they did not have the authority to preach, baptize, or take the LS. Only an authorized clergy from an authorized church had this authority. The "church" had not given them that authority. These bold men took their Bible and basically said, "authority comes from Christ, He has authorized all disciples to preach, baptize and come to His table!" And now we are back to where they started from with this talk of "proper ordination" of an administrator and "true churches." With all due respect to Dr. White, his entire secion on the "Administrator of Baptism" is totally devoid of Scripture, am I suppossed to accept his authority on this? Fat chance, I am too good of a Baptist to do that.

Brad we are going backwards when we take authority away from Christ and place it into the purview of an ecclesiastical institution, even if it is Baptistic.

Brad there was more then just 11 men on that hill when Jesus said, "Go Baptize..." Now some "expert" wants to tell me that He was only authorizing apostles who later gave authority to the church? Please give me an exegesis of the passage that teaches this. Sounds eerily like Roman Catholic arguments to support the concept of their clerical and ecclesiastical authority. Christ gave all His disciples the mandate and the right to preach and baptize. Is it done in relationship to His ecclesia or gathering? Certainly. But people are baptized into the body of Christ, not into a denomination, and people are baptized by any disciple, not by only those who are “authorized” by an ecclesiastical entity.

Practical application: the clergy in a Baptist church must never be seen like the priests of a Catholic church….. the “authorized” ones.

I like Charles Spurgeon say, you can take your "ordination." We are called of Christ, not man.

Tim

brad reynolds said...

Timothy
We seem to be passing each other in type, for which I take the blame. So allow me to get us on the same page.

I said “Before the Reformation, the church was everyone who was born into the state, but reformers understood this not to be the case in the NT, they preached the difference, many at the cost of their lives.
While in hiding and certainly not a part of the Catholic church they began recognizing that they were part of Christ’s true body, even though, to express it locally and visibly (outside the Catholic church) would require their lives, hence the adoption of the terms “Invisible and Universal.””

Apparently, I did not make it clear what I was referencing, because you quote a confession from this time period. Let us be clear that the reformers were reacting (which by the way isn’t always bad to do) to the Catholic Church, which held the priests as mediators as well as practicing infant Baptism. The reformers took their stand against the Catholic Church and its priests; they were not standing against local church assemblies or the authority of local churches, as evidenced later.

The reformers certainly did not include local church autonomy as the ecclesiastical authority they stood against. It is not fair to group Baptist local church autonomy in with the Roman Catholic Church of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Further, Matthew 28 is pretty clear about who Jesus gave the commission to…the eleven disciples…the text very clearly singles them out. However, even if one were to assume He was giving the commission to other “disciples” who were present, one must further assume they were not a part of the church in Jerusalem in order to agree with your assumption. Which for me, is a lot of assuming.

I do, however, agree that the clergy in a Baptist church should not be seen as the priests of a Catholic church.

Now, I have interacted with the text showing the use of ecclesia in the NT to refer to local churches and its meaning as the assembly, I would certainly invite any refutation to this (by the way: the universal “body of Christ” has no assembling).

Hope this helps
BR

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Brad,
Thanks for being fair with my comment.
I beleive that debate can be a good thing. Especially if something good comes out of it.
For a reason, God has me obsessed with sharing The Good News of Jesus, so, debating doesnt seem as important as doing.

TruthOfActs said...

Brad,
You say the key is the authority of the local church.

Many years ago my uncle (Rex Ray a SB missionary) was asked to organize a church in a village in China. One man had bought a Bible from the Baptist Book Store, and believed on Christ. He had shared it, and 20 others had believed. They had baptized each other.

After many questions, my uncle declared them a Baptist Church. (He believed all Christians would be Baptist if no one had been messing with them.)

He did not baptize them again. Was he wrong?
Rex Ray

brad reynolds said...

David
In that we are agreed:)

And thank you for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. God will honor that. Would that we all shared Christ more. I know I should be even more faithful in this area. Please pray for me here.

Along those lines, I have some good news. A young lady accepted Christ, when I shared the gospel this past Saturday...please pray for her...and pray for me to be about sharing this good news, more often. I seem to overlook many opportunities.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Rex
Fair question. According to Dr. White's essentials of the existence of a local church...no. They were a church before they declared themselves to be: for the gospel, the ordinances and the purposeful gathering was present.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Oops. I meant "were" present
BR

brad reynolds said...

Rex
This is what the anabaptist did also...as they organized a hidden local church, perhaps without knowing they were organizing a local church.

If your question is whether I think a person can be saved and go around witnessing and baptizing without any accoutability, I would say no. There needs to be discipling (intentionally gathering).
BR

Anonymous said...

Brad: You say no one can quote anyone yet you keep referring back to the White Papers. I say look at the passages of scripture without the White Paper and what do they say with scripture interpreting scripture?

Next you say: "If your question is whether I think a person can be saved and go around witnessing and baptizing without any accoutability, I would say no. There needs to be discipling (intentionally gathering"

With this comment are you saying that one must wait to witness until they go through a series of classes? For how long? I don't know of a person who is truly born again who would be able to wait.

Timothy Cowin said...

Brad,

I really have to move on, I have enjoyed the discussions. My wife is telling me that if I would give this much attention to my DMin, I would be done by now:) I look forward to meeting you in person one day.

You know the universal Body of Christ does have one grand assembly, and I look forward to that day:)

I am in agreement with the fact that the term "ecclesia" the gathering, the assembly; in the NT refers to a local fellowship. I know you want to hang out there, but there is no use, we agree on the definition. What we are disagreeing over is the issue of "authority."

In particular, I am tripping over Dr. White's statement:

"Baptism is a church ordinance and not a Christian ordinance. As this is perhaps the least understood view, a necessary discussion of the definition of a true church must also occur."

It is the "not a Christian ordinance" claim that I find unsupported by Scripture.

Repeatedly we see Baptisms occurring outside of an official gathering. Why? The ordinances were given to the Body of Christ and Baptism is symbolic of entering into the Body of Christ. We are not baptized into specific “church" but into the "Body of Christ," and this literally happens by the agency of the H.S, not water. Water baptism is an outward testimony of an inner work of God's Spirit, 1 Cor 12.13. Upon baptism, a new disciple is expected to participate and fellowship with an “ecclesia” of disciples, Acts 20.7, Heb 10.22.

Example: In Acts 16, we see of the Jailor and his household it being said, "and immediately he and all his family were baptized." Vs. 34 indicates all occurred that night, in his house. Did they call for an assembly? Did they wait for a gathering?

If the Jailor were to later go to the IMB, they would make him be re-baptized. They would say that Paul erred in not waiting for an official assembly. The same could be said of Philip in the manner in which he baptized the Ethiopian, Acts 8.36-37. Also Ananias must have erred as we see Paul “arose and was baptized,” and then “received food” to be strengthened. There is no reference to an official gathering in any of these circumstances. We also see this pattern with the disciples at Ephesus, as Paul did not call for a gathering, but baptized them and laid hands on them. (I know Brad, you will say that this is an argument from silence, but really it is not. If you look closely at the texts, it is quite apparent that in each of these cases baptism was administered immediately).

Now one could argue that these first “baptizers” had some sort of apostolic authority, but according to the NT record it is clear that, baptism was not closely tied to the “authority” of a local church.

Furthermore, the LS was not JUST given for the use of a local gathering. In the case of the LS, we see even a sadder misuse of this beautiful symbol of our oneness/covenant with Christ and each other (I know it means so much more, please allow brevity here) To make the LS symbolize the doctrinal conformity of a group to the exclusion of others that ARE in the body of Christ, because of denominational and doctrinal walls, is in my opinion a concept that is totally foreign to the spirit of Scripture. Again, we have taken authority away from Christ, for it is His ordinance, and has not been given to a denomination or even a local church to be used to foster and propagate their particular denominational distinctives. The LS does not symbolize our covenant as “Baptists” but our covenant with Christ, the head of the Body. If a person is deemed to be truly regenerated by the Spirit and by the Spirit baptized into the Body of Christ, it would be a sin against the Body to refuse to break bread with him, because of doctrinal differences or denominational affiliations, (it is valid to exclude individuals based on matters of discipline and gross theological error of the highest order). The LS clearly was not given to symbolize our unity as SB, or our unity as a local assembly, but to symbolize our covenant with Christ through His Blood. To make it an ordinance of a denomination is in effect rending that part of the Body away from the rest of the Body. Denominations may be a necessary reality, but when any denomination attempts to act as if the ordinances are theirs to the exclusion of the rest of the Body, they are in grave error. We should take the Lord’s Supper with all Blood bought children of God, even if they don’t see eye to eye with us on every issue.

The Test: If they are in the Body of Christ, we better break bread with them!

Tim

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Do you see a difference in discipling and fellowship? I know they are related, but in my mind discipling is more atune to 'training' and fellowship to 'exhorting and encouraging'. Is that how you see it?
Also, just out of curiosity, would you propose that Luther and Augustine's 'sprinkling' was adequate as baptism? If not, do you think that not being dunked hindered their witness or purpose?
I, like you, believe dunking to be the Biblically accurate mode of baptism, but I'm just not as adamant about the re-baptism thing as it seems to me that the primary purpose of baptism is association with Christ.


Thanks for your considerate response,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Debbie,

I looked to see where I said “no one can quote anyone.” But could not find that statement, I shall assume that you are referencing my comment about God’s Word being more important than man’s. Which I affirm, I believe I also clearly implied it is good to read man’s words just not nearly as good as reading God’s.

Concerning Scripture I shall assume you have read these comments and thus have seen that I have interacted with the meaning of ecclesia in the NT, to which no one has countered. It is Scripture which is our authority not confessions or men.

To your final question: no I am not saying that.

Have a blessed day.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,
The assumption that you appear to be making which I am unwilling to make is that the Missionaries in Acts were not under the authority of a local church to do what they were doing. Since, I believe they were under the authority of the local church then I would disagree with your assessment of how the IMB would respond to the jailor.

We will get to the LS when we finish our series on Baptism, but for now let me just say removing it from the local church also removes the instrument of discipline.

If I follow your comment rightly I assume you would be fine with a stranger walking in off the street and “claiming” to be a Christian, even though in reality he is the biggest child-porn pusher in the US and yet we are compelled to break bread with him.

I am having trouble with that one. I am not willing to compromise the testimony of the local church in that manner…accountability is important to the LS.

I do think Dr. Adrian Rogers new well what he was doing as he chaired the BFM2K committee. He was a pastor but he was also a theologian.

If I was unfair to your comment I apologize but I am trying to think of the consequences of it.

May the Lord bless you in your Dmin studies.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I would see a difference in discipling and fellowship, although I think they overlap to a great degree. Was Luther, Augustine’s Baptism adequate in obedience: YES. In symbolizing what took place: NO. When one loses the symbolism one loses much of the testimony to the world, but this does not deny their obedience. Even the Anabaptist sprinkled at first (before they studied the Scriptures more indepthly)…there is a reason for immersion and its not just because the NT Christians did it…they had a reason, which was its symbol…its witness…its testimony or proclamation to the world of what actually took place. When one loses its symbol one loses much of its meaning and its purpose.
BR

Wade Burleson said...

Dr. Reynolds,

In Timothy Cowen's last post he interacted with the text. I think it only fair, since you challenged him (and all) to focus on the text, that you respond to his very perceptive textual insights. :)

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I'm confused; is there a difference in 'adequate for obedience' and just 'adequate'? If so, was Luther's and Augustine's baptisms (sprinklings) adequate? (or the early Anabaptists if such be the case) If those baptisms were not adequate, then what was the consequence of their inadequacies?
We are in agreement as to the symbolism between Rom. 6 and immersion baptism, but that's not my point. I am concerned with (a) whether non-immersion baptism is 'adequate' with respect to God's righteous demands, and (b) if it is not adequate, what of the great Church fathers who were sprinkled? What would the consequence of 'wrong baptism' be? And (c) if there would have been no 'consequence', are we to demand re-baptism of those who have been sprinkled with 'adequacy of obedience'?

Grace and peace,

PTL

Anonymous said...

Excuse me Brad for not quoting you exactly. I should have said it sounded like you were saying. :)

As far as countering, how about those that Christ healed who immediately went and told about it. Is that not witnessing? How about And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)That would be just for starters.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with you Brad on the answer you gave to PTL concerning baptism. Well said in your explanation. :)

Timothy Cowin said...

Brad my dear brother,

That was the biggest straw-man I have ever seen! No offense, but I dialogue wanting to understand your position, and hoping that you will give mine more then just a cursory reading and a quick dismissal.

You asked for a reasoning with the text, I gave you one, and that is all you are going to say in response, "we wouldnt want to serve a pornographer?"

The only thing that could ensure the kind of "accountability" to prevent the example that you gave from happening, is to adhere to a strict closed communion; where only local church members can take the LS. (even then it would'nt guarentee that everybody is who they claim to be, even fellow members may have secret sins. The issue should be what is known, unless we want to run everybody through a polygraph test before each LS:) I don't think you beleive in this practice of a strict closed communion, and it is rarely seen in SB life. A person could walk in off the street and say that they are from a SBC church in timbucktoo, and we would give him the L.S. and possibliy be sharing it with a pornographer, murderer, adulterer, embezzeler, an even a lowly Cubs fan...;)

And yes Brad, the IMB is rejecting baptisms on the basis of not just being under the authority of an SB church, but also not in a local church assembly. They rejected a Free Will Baptist immersion, and they rejected the Batptism of a candidate who's SBC pastor baptized him, thinking it would fulfill the requirements, but because it was not at a Church gathering, they rejected that also, so he was re-re baptized. (see Wade's comment stream).

Brad you have not explained to me why Baptism and the LS is not more then a practice of a local assembly but are also Christian ordinances given by Christ to His Body. Anybody can say, "Since I believe the baptizer's were under the authority of a local church...." But you have done nothing to substantiate that claim from Scripture. I have pointed out many passages that reveal that Baptism was performed absent from a formal gathering, The IMB has rejected baptims of the nature of Philip's, the Jailors, and Paul's. Why and by what Scriptural precedent? I believe you accussed me earlier of following tradition (when I quoted Gill), but you certianly are not claiming anything but the same in answering this important question: Do the ordinances belong to the local ecclesia's or to the Body?

I am wrestling with the text, and do not see a transfer of authority to the local ecclesia's. I wonder if the gentile ecclesia's accepted the immersions of the Christian Judaizers? According to the IMB they should not. I wonder if they took the Lord's Supper with each other, in spite of their differences?

Jesus told us all authority was given to Him, Go....Baptize...

Again, please show me in Scripture where this authority was somehow transferred to an ecclesiastical entity.

Tim

brad reynolds said...

Wade
Please re-read my comment to Timothy. I replied I am unwilling to make the assumptions in the text that he is making…ie: the missionaries were not under the authority of the local church. When you make that assumption then you draw the conclusions from the text which you draw.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
If baptism were just an act of obedience than the baptisms were sufficient but if it is a symbol to the watching world of what has transpired than they are not. Luther was also wrong on infant baptism.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Debbie
Excellent insights from the text. I think the ones you referred to as Christ healing were not going and proclaiming the gospel, for Christ had not yet been crucified.

Further, Paul did come in the power of God but that does not deny he came in the authority of the local church (Acts 11:22; 11:30; 13:2-4). Moreover, he was an apostle.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Timothy
I apologize for the miscommunication on my part. My point is that if the Lord’s Supper is not an ordinance to the local church it is mush more open for abuses and it loses its accountability factor (church discipline).

I am not one who believes in total closed communion but I do feel it is most NT when it is a separate service for the local church, not something tacked on at the end, where they come in covenant fellowship and accountability to worship Christ as the visible ecclesia. Were a member of my church to share with the assembly that they have a mother who will be attending the special service and would like her to join us, because she is a Christian with a positive testimony for Christ, then I would have no problem with the church deciding to invite her to participate…but it is a local church decision. If we can let’s hold off on LS until we start looking at it…there will be plenty of opportunity thenJ

Concerning the rest…if the ordinances were given to the “ecclesia” then by its use in the NT it is the local church. If the ordinances were given to the invisible body of Christ then one loses all accountability (which influences their meanings), and two teenagers who are members of no local church can gather at McDonald’s have some grape juice and crackers (from the salad bar) and it is the Lord’s Supper further it separates the Baptism of the Great Commission from the Dicsipling.

Allow me to explain, I shall assume that we can agree that when individuals are intentionally gathering, practicing the ordinances with the gospel taught we have a church. If one removes the intentional gathering and teaching then one just has “baptism,” this separates baptism from discipleship which is also part of the Great Commission. That is why Dr. Adrian Rogers rightly concluded in the BFM2K that the Great Commission is to the local church for it is her responsibility to witness, baptize and then teach through gathered meetings. I hope this makes sense.
BR

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

This post has been one of the most insightful in recent days. Thank You.

However, I noticed that Wade seems to be attacking you and even accusing you of things that he refuses to substanciate. What is the deal? He will not post my comments on his blog, but he mocks you on yours? Where is the Christian brotherhood?

Bubba

Ps. I got an email from that feller back yonder that was talkin about takin out adds in Oklahoma and Fort Worth to expose the truth concerning certain individuals. He was askin for $50 to $100 so get the adds in place by March. He says he has raised nearly $3000 from conservative baptists. I have a couple of questions for you.

Did you get the same email?

Is he legit?

Should I send him the funds? After all if ti exposes things it might not be so bad? I'm all for truth.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
So again, do you think Luther's & Augustine's baptisms were adequate? We are well agreed that something is lost in symbolism when immersion is not practiced, but you are refusing to answer my question. Were their baptisms adequate and, if not, what were/are the consequences of such behavior? And are those consequences still valid today for those who are sprinkled under the belief that they are acting in obedience (as you call it, 'adequate for obedience')? Also, I'm not sure how Luther's doctrinal stance on infant baptism ties in with whether or not sprinkling is sufficient? Please help.

Grace and peace,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Bear
I did not get such an e-mail and I said months ago to the individuals wanting to place the adds, “ I disagree with taking our differences to the public.”
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I am not refusing to answer your question. You have been here long enough to know better than to make such an accusation.

I am confused by what you mean by adequate? If you mean are they adequate for my Baptist church to accept? No, they missed the meaning of it. If by adequate you mean they received some sort of grace for their baptism then I would say no, baptism does not convey grace. If by adequate, you mean they obeyed God to the best of their knowledge then I would say, yes. And yes all the above is still valid today.

Hope this helps
BR

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Brad,
Awesome news about your sharing the Gospel saturday.
There is probably nothing better than sharing when its their time to receive it.

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

Thanks for the advice. I will not send them fellers no money neither. I just wish all of us Southern Baptist could get along and not fight over thangs. Not sure what them fellers hope to accomplish, but I guess we will see.

Anyway Lenny and me is prayin for you.

Bubba

By the way, did Wade ever provide proof of his accusations aginst you or was he just slangin mud? Lenny says its just mud!

Oh yeah Lenny got one of those emails too, but he aint sendin no money neither.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
So you think the difference between sprinkling and immersion to be significant to the point that you would recommend against Luther or Augustine being a baptist? (not that they want to - I haven't even asked them about it). You're the one who used the term 'adequate'; I'm the one trying to understand what you meant by the term. Of course I don't believe any special grace is extended through the ritual of baptism - hence my apprehension about building walls between those who immerse and those who sprinkle (assuming the intents/purposes are the same). If there are no 'consequences' (i.e. eternal issues involved) and if the person was baptized (i.e. sprinkled) as an act of obedience and as a public profession of their faith with the understanding that nothing magic was associated with the rite, I'm not sure I could tell someone like Luther, "sorry - you can't worship with us until you've been immersed." Maybe that goes back to the priorities thing - I'm much less interested in the 'widening the tent in the SB' issue than I am in whether or not Christians behave like Christians.

Grace and peace,

PTL

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Bear,

I wish you would come out of hibernation so people could know who you are. Either that or go back to sleep. :)

Your allegation that I am 'mocking' Dr. Reynolds is really very silly. In fact, I would say you are lying, but I never knew bears could even talk. :)

Seriously, whoever you are, I trust that Christ will reveal for us that which you hide.

Brad, you have been a very fair person in the current debate, and I commend you.

I would encourage you to not allow Mr. Bear to hijack your blog (or any other furry animals) as they have done in the past.

Wade

I think if you match Bear's I.P. with a current commentor, you will find very quickly who he is .

brad reynolds said...

Wade

Thank you my brother.

And you may very well be right; it may be someone who is already posting here...however, I do not have an IP tracer or whatever it is that tells me who is who on this blog...nor do I care to have one. I do believe there are some who feel they must be anonymous and I respect that, although I would never be anonymous myself; for I think if you believe something enough to say it, then put your name behind it.

No one who posts or visits this site will have to worry about me figuring out who they are or how long they stay. That's just my own policy to protect others but also because I am electronically challenged (you know how long it took me to get a blog...I think you recommended it for almost a month before I did it) and don't care to figure out how to do all this.

Plus, I don't want to know how few people actually visit my site:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

Bear

If you are by any means making false allegations than please refuse to do so. You seem upset that Wade accused me of not posting his comments...which is a false allegation, however, if Wade is correct and you are making false allegations of him then you are operating in a manner which seems to be duplicitous.

You are very welcome to post here and I appreciate that for which you stand but let's do so in such a way that honors Christ. Please don't take that the wrong way, you may be honoring Christ...in fact, let me make that statement to us all...myself foremost.
BR

volfan007 said...

ptl,

luther and augustines baptisms would not be good enough to join the church i pastor. and, they are not good enough for them to be m's in the sbc either. these were great men of the faith, but thier baptisms were not the greatest.

btw, luther and augustine also had some other beliefs and practices that were not the greatest...most sound either.


volfan007

CB Scott said...

Billy Bear,

What's the deal with you? Brad and Wade both have published everything I has put up on either of their post concerning Baptism and so has Wes, for that matter.

I think due to seriousness of this particular matter to our Convention right now most everyone has represented themselves with caution and care.

It is an established fact that in the area of ecclesiology Wade and I disagree on certain points (He is wrong:-), but he has exhibited nothing but grace to me in this debate and the evidence is that he has acted accordingly with everyone in the same manner.

Brad will tell you that no one throws more granades his way than me, but he is has only held back one comment from being posted from me ever and, frankly, it was so ill in its nature that I am now glad he had greater wisdom than I in that case.

The doctrine of Baptism is of great important to us as Southern Baptist. We owe it to those that sought Believers Baptism through their personal risk at the hands of those that did baptize them in their own blood.

It is a fact that Wade and Brad disagree in this matter and in this case I stand with Brad, but it must be said that both of these men have acted with honor in this serious debate and in my NOT so humble opinion I think we should all follow their example.

cb

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

Thank you for your wisdom. I will check my motivation and be careful to honor Jesus, and I respond to Wade and CB in love.

Wade,

You have refused to post at least 10 posts that I have sent to your site. You do not answer my questions on your blog nor by email! You say that you are open to honest straight forward questions, but WHERES THE BEEF?

No wonder them there fellers are upset with what they perceive to be an issue of integrity and want to bring it to the publics attention. I disagree with them and discourage them from such action, but I certainly undertand their frustration.

Then to top it off you accuse Dr. Brad of not postin your comments. When he challenges you to prove your allegations, you offer a pitiful 'I dont remember". Yeah, Bill Clinton has the same problem. Wade, WHERES THE BEEF? When did Brad ever refuse to post your comments???

Wade, you want to know who I am? Well go back and check my ip address from the nearly dozen times I tried to post on your site! Dont slang mud at me as though you have no idea who I am my dear brother!

CB,

Dont talk down to me. I may be from Alabama, and never had the opportunity to attend Bible school, but I do honor Jesus best I know how. I take these discussions seriously and try to learn from them. Thanks to Dr. Brad I am gettin quite an education. I just want Wade to play by the same rules he expects from others. Namely when it comes to accusations form Wade, WHERES THE BEEF?


Bubba

Ed Pruitt said...

Brad,

I wanted to stop by and say thank you for your diligent efforts in presenting important topics for we Southern Baptists to discuss. With your permission I would like to comment on something CB Scott mentioned in one of his comments. His comment took my mind back to reflecting on so many friends that have been "Baptized by their own blood" (thanks CB).

Baptism by Blood

As we approach Christmas my mind focuses more on friends of mine who have paid a high price for their commitment to Christ. In America we think that we are being persecuted if a non-believer makes fun of us, or if we fail to get that promotion we so richly deserve. Well it’s not that way in many places in the world. Far too many Christians face much more critical issues than mentioned above.

And as we in the SBC face new struggles redefining ourselves through debates on Calvinism, Tongues, and Baptism, thousands of followers of Christ are facing Baptism by their own Blood.

I am not saying that we in the SBC should not carefully examine who we are and what beliefs are important to being Baptist, but there are more critical issues for some.

So this Christmas as we exchange gifts and complain that our Christmas bonus was just simply not enough for the hard work we endured this past year, and as we blog about Calvinism, Tongues, and Baptism, REMEMBER that there are those in this world who will be Baptized by their own Blood for the cause of Christ. Those of whom this world is not worthy.

HEP

brad reynolds said...

Ed
Thank you my brother. And thank you and Dr. Caner for your books which help bring to light the truth of persecution for christians. God bless You
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
I certainly understand your and Brad's position regarding exclusivity of SB's. I just can't share your adamance on the issue. If these men were mightily used of God (and they were), then their baptisms were obviously accepted by God as adequate. And if God accepted their baptisms, I believe I am in no position to say that they are not. I often wonder, if immersion baptism is SO significant an issue, why would God not have divulged to these great theologians the import of immersion vs. sprinkling? I know that's a bit of a rhetorical statement and is directed at no one in particular, but it is this type of question that creates in me the caution with respect to excluding prople from fellowship based on doctrinal issues that are not 'clearly' spelled out in the Bible (i.e. we have no passage that says sprinkling is wrong or that only if one is immersed can he/she be included as members of a local church).
Here's another question; can someone be ADAMANTLY conservative with respect to personal convictions (i.e. inerrancy of Scripture, literal creationist, etc.) and yet be 'called' a liberal because he/she grants lattitude with respect to others' convictions? The older I get, the less adamant I become about telling others what their Christian walk should look like.

Grace and peace,

PTL

Anonymous said...

Before all of you go out and purchase Dr. Gill, you might want to consult the opinion of his good friend Robert Hall. :-)

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I would not agree with your logic here. Just because those men were mightily used by God it does not follow that he accepted their baptisms as rightly symbolizing what took place. In fact, I sincerely believe that if these men knew what we knew on this subject they would submit themselves to immersion.

Further, your question about why God would not reveal it to these men begs numerous questions, like: if believer’s baptism (not pedobaptism) was so important why didn’t God reveal it to Luther?

Concerning your spelling our of a Biblical doctrine the Greek word Baptidzo means “to immerse” so it is clearly spelled out in the Greek NT.

If by fellowship you mean Christian fellowship than I agree, if by fellowship you mean local church covenant relationship than I disagree, for it is important that the ecclesia, rightly proclaim what takes place when one is saved, so there is no confusion to those who observe.

Concerning your last statement: we should always be generous in our latitude to others convictions but never generous to allow what the Scripture forbids, or to forbid what the Scripture allows.

Hope this helps
BR

Timothy Cowin said...

Brad,
Even if you decide not to post, please respond with at least an email and please consider my observations.

I humbly urge you to demand some accountabilty concerning Bear and his comments. If you are going to allow him to keep swiping at people, then PLEASE demand he identify himself. Speaking from a preacher's heart, in christian circles, there is not too many things more lowly then anonymous attacks. Bear hides behind a facetious name and uses his anonymity to add nothing to our discussions but “adda boy brad, and aint those other guys awful.” It is obvious that he does not really post about the issues, but just throws darts at others and pats you on the back. The patting on the back is fine, we all need encougment and a band of brother, but his swipes at others is out of line. I know he is one of your fans, and so am I:) but he is going way beyond the bounds of Christian charity and gentlemanly debate. If I were Wade I would not answer anonymous banter either, and Brad I don’t think you would!

Brad, you are an intelligent man, I truly cannot accept that you are being naïve in this matter. If the Bear had said all that he has said, but at a different direction, you would have dealt with it long before now. What if somebody was baiting people in attempting to drum up support to go to the Wake Forest Newspapers to get the truth out on Brad Reynolds? Do all of us a favor, and for the sake of the integrity of your site; ask for the Bear to be a man an identify himself, just like everybody else, (except for missionaries who we know have valid reasons for remaining anonymous.) It is obvious to me and many others, that his "oh shucks" persona is a puton.

But the most egregious thing is his duplicity! Brad please look between the lines of Bear’s recent stream:

First at 12/11/06 3:02 pm, he attempts to bait you and everybody else with this Newspaper fiasco, praise the Lord everybody had the wisdom to ignore it:
“I got an email from that feller back yonder that was talkin about takin out adds in Oklahoma and Fort Worth to expose the truth concerning certain individuals. He was askin for $50 to $100 so get the adds in place by March. He says he has raised nearly $3000 from conservative baptists. I have a couple of questions for you. Did you get the same email. Is he legit? Should I send him the funds? After all if ti exposes things it might not be so bad? I'm all for truth.”

When you reply in the negative, and do not take his bait to attack a brother, the Bear posts: 12/11/06 4:52 pm
“Thanks for the advice. I will not send them fellers no money neither. I just wish all of us Southern Baptist could get along and not fight over thangs. Not sure what them fellers hope to accomplish, but I guess we will see.”

So the Bear changes his demeanor from the first post as a Grizzly bear: “After all if it exposes things it might not be so bad? I’m all for truth!” To a peaceful Teddy Bear, in the second post: “I just wish all of us Southern Baptist could get along and not fight over thangs.”

Then by his third post he has totally overlooked what he said in his first previous post (the symptom of liars and frauds), and I ask you Brad to please read between the lines.

Just about 7 hours later at 12/12/06 12:21 am he posts:

“No wonder them there fellers are upset with what they perceive to be an issue of integrity and want to bring it to the publics attention. I disagree with them and discourage them from such action, but I certainly undertand their frustration.”

Brad, Please, he went from “should I send money?” “I’m all for truth” to “I disagree with them and discourage them form such action.”

If he is all for truth then please hold him to his word and make the Bear come out from his cave, expose himself for who he really is. Brad, it is your blog, we do not agree with each other on several issues, but I find you to be an intelligent, thoughtful person who typically responds to those you disagree with in the spirit of Christ. But the presence of this Bear being allowed to continue to claw at people is a blemish. I do not mean this disrespectfully, but please ignore the bear’s praises and see the spirit in which he goes after others, it is not befitting of who you are or what you want your blog to be.

Thanks for the consideration,

Unashamedly,

Timothy Cowin

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I understand your position and appreciate your exegesis of why my position is wrong.
From what I understand, however, there are actually two greek words translated 'baptize' - one does, in fact, mean 'immerse'; the other is somewhat more vague as it means simply 'to wash' (at least that's my understanding of the words).
BTW, I haven't read the passage that forbids sprinkling as a method of baptism - I do, however, agree that we should always encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to not engage in that which the Bible forbids (you know, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, gossiping, backbiting, strife-causing, legalism, favoritism, contentions, etc.).
And I, too, share your consternation regarding why God did not reveal to those great theologians the improperness of infant baptism. I'm sure that's a question I'll ask of God should I ever be able to lift myself off the ground when I meet him 'face to face'.
I'm quite convinced of my own convictions, but I have decided that my obligation to others is to share with them why I believe certain issues to be more or less Scriptural (in this case baptism), and then allow the Holy Spirit to do His job - i.e. that of convicting as He sees fit. I have determined that it is not my job to convict others - simply to exhort them in the Truth as I understand it. And I bear no angst toward you or anyone else who would exclude someone from 'local' fellowship based on the fact that they were sprinkled as opposed to immersed, but for me it would be arrogance to take that kind of stand. I would simply take the position that the Holy Spirit would 'guide them into all Truth' in His timing.

Grace and peace,

PTL

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Bear,

Me thinks you are delusional.

:)

Have a Beary Christmas.

:)

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,

Wade has been very gracious in his responses to Bear and I commend him on that. Further, there may come a time when I have to refuse to post Bear’s comments…he has certainly pushed the edges at times and I have refused to post a couple of his comments and asked him to reword them. As to his claims I do not know, I long to trust “Christians” at their word…therefore I want to believe he and Wade, which is illogical.

I do know Wade has posted all of my comments I have placed on his site in the last 4 months…but I also know he did not post two of my comments almost 6 months ago and he gave no reason for not posting them (I have them still). I also know others have complained…I don’t know the answer here…God does and that’s what matters. I do know Wade was less than honest in at least one area, when he accused me of not posting his comments…everyone here knows I post nearly all comments or at least ask individuals to restate them.

As to the Bear, I agree I think some of his comments are more of a “blog personality” than a true naiveté because he seems to be very keen on some issues…nevertheless, I don’t want to make assumptions.

The main point I want to make is this does not need to be about personalities and as evidenced on our communications we can disagree and keep a Christlike spirit.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
If your “Baptist” church begins accepting people into membership from Methodists churches without being immersed because Luther wasn’t immersed than imagine the consequences. What would you say to a person in the church who wants to be immersed rather than baptized because his/her hero is a Methodists (grandmother or grandfather)? Do you demand they be immersed unlike the others you have recognized as members (Methodists by transfer)? If so how do you explain the duplicity? If not than the slope continues. Luther baptized infants, a member wants to baptize their infant. Etc

Again, there is a reason we are Baptists, ecumenicalism nearly always dilutes doctrine. I am Baptists because I believe them to be the most NT, I would hope that’s why we are all Baptists. If one thinks Lutherans are more NT than they should be with the Lutherans. The type of church you appear to desire would lose all symbolism of the meaning of salvation expressed in Baptism. Notice Dr. Moore’s paper.

Concerning Baptism you are right about the words…however, I believe, everytime the NT speaks of one baptizing another it uses the word which means immerse. It is what the word means!
BR

Wade Burleson said...

Brad,

Less than honest?

Brad, what does that mean?

Does that mean lying? Does it mean 'I have not read Wade's post before I posted mine?'

Just wondering.

Tim, thanks for the comment. I could not agree more.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I didn't know that I had expressed any desire for a church that had lost all symbolism in the meaning of salvation expressed through baptism. There is a type of church I do desire and that is one that reflects Christ in all that she does. Haven't found one yet, but I'm looking.
And I don't think that, because I question the adamance of fellow SB'ers, I'm heading down the slippery slope toward papacy. Maybe you have better foresight than I?
And while your analogy regarding Methodists is humorous, you have failed to demonstrate any significant consequences that I am to imagine - with the exception of duplicity - which I fail to see as a serious consequence of anything.


Grace and peace brother,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Wade

Less than honest means you said that I refused to post some of your comments. You know very well I did not refuse to post any of your comments. I continually asked you to provide the comments (in order to give you an opportunity to admit you had falsely accused me). Finally, you responded "I do not have the comments archived or saved."

However, as smart as you are and as diligent as you are to keep records...I think that comment also was less than honest: especially since, 1) everyone knows I post all comments (even those who disagree with me, know that), and 2) you know I have clearly demonstrated where you refused to post my comments in the past and therefor I am confident I had done the same, you would have immediately pointed it out.

Concerning you implication: I thought you said, I had cleared that up? or was that statement truthful? Our comments were under the posts "what to look for in a SB blog post."

Wade, you have posted with grace and kindness, however, I wonder about other statements because of the clear error in the ones I mention above. You are welcome to post here anytime and I do appreciate your graciousness.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
If you fail to see that by sprinkling you have lost the clear symbolism of baptism than I am not sure what to say.
Further, I think duplicity is a serious consequence.
BR

Wade Burleson said...

Dr. Reynolds,

For some reason you seem sore that your two comments were not posted.

No need to be sore.

It's Christmas!

Wade

brad reynolds said...

Wade
I am not sore at all. Those who know me, will tell you I am easy going and quite forgiving (although my weaknesses far outweigh my strengths). I apologize if it appeared that way to you. My response was to answer your question of what "less than honest meant." A little over a month ago you had mentioned you never refused to post my comments, and I had to reveal where that statement was also inaccurate, however, you did seem apologetic at the time, for which I am very grateful.

I do hope you have a Merry Christmas. I am not sure anyone here is interested in this, and so please feel free to e-mail further concerns. We seem to have gotten off the subject, and I take full blame for that.
BR

volfan007 said...

brad, wade, and all,

i too have been censored by wade....several times....in fact, more than several. but, here lately, wade has let me post all of my comments....well, almost. he did say that one was off subject and would not let it be seen.

on the other hand, tom ascol at the founders blog, will not let me post over there. i guess he doesnt like what i am saying. i guess he cant handle someone disagreeing with him and making too much sense. i dont know.

but, to be honest, and to back up bear and brad....wade has censored more than a few of my posts on his blog.

volfan007

SelahV said...

Good evening Wade: You said, "With your logic we should remove Dr. White's paper from Brad's site." I wouldn't want you or anyone else to use my logic to remove or add anything to a blog. I enjoy the fact that Brad allows me to post on his blog. So he is free to use any person's paper he wants. It's his blog, after all. And since it is Brad's blog "we" can't remove anything. So guess I won't worry my fake red-head over that.

Then you said: :) So I did. :)smile, that is.

You also said, "It is the Bible, but a wise man will always look for the comments of wiser men than himself, but of course, if a man finds it impossible to find such people, then that is when the trouble begins."

I don't really understand that statement, Wade. "...a wise man will always look for the comments of wiser men than himself..."

Where does one find that wiser man, Wade? I have been referred from one site to another and most of the time I follow the Bible as a reference point as to which man is wise. "Be not wise in your own eyes, but reverently fear and worship the Lord..."{Pr.3:7. "There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel [that can prevail] against the Lord." {Pr.21:30 "When the scoffer is punished, the fool gets a lesson in being wise; but men of wisdom and good sense learn by being instructed."{Pr.21:11.
I've found a few men like this, Wade. But I find a bunch that "do not learn from being instructed."
They repeatedly go back to doing the same thing over and over and over again. Such men, I stay clear of and weigh their words quite lightly when I am considering an issue of importance.
Pr.21:20 says it well for me, "There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it."

I think some folks come to the treasure box in many blogs and receive treasure and oil and go away inspired, exhorted, corrected or edified. Then they can go to other blogs and swallow every precious word of wisdom and waste it in their own foolish arrogant pride-filled hearts.

While I do not even deign to suggest I have any wisdom other than what the good and gracious Lord bestows upon me, I can tell difference between words of instruction and words of destruction.

You also said, "...but of course, if a man finds it impossible to find such people, then that is when the trouble begins."

I couldn't agree with you more, Wade. For the Bible also says, "He who troubles his own house shall inherit the wind, and the foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart." I'm no authority of Hebrew and Greek, mind you. Just bounce from Bible to Bible. But the words that reach out at me in this last verse and twist their fingers around my heart are: "the wise of HEART." Note that says heart not head. So when I search for a wise man...I watch for the one who has the heart of Jesus. The calm, meek, controlled, caring, confident man who doesn't run scared in the midst of his accusers, or need his disciples to draw swords and chop off ears.

Just an observation from a woman who reads no Gill, little Calvin, less newspapers and more than I should of blogs these days.

But I am glad I crack you up, Wade. Encouragement is one of my spiritual gifts. Discernment is too, but I get a bit wobbly with that one at times.

Blessings be yours and to yours. Isn't it great that Brad is gonna be a brand new daddy? I'm so excited for him. He's been reading through the Bible outloud to his unborn baby boy. Don't you think that is wonderful? Wish I'd done that when I was carrying my children. SelahV :)

P.S. I notice you do a lot of facilitating on this site. Do you do that in your church as well? I read that you're a great pastor and everyone gets along wonderfully in your church even though not everyone believes the same things doctrinally. I'll bet alot of that is due to how well you facilitate. Just an observation...I may be wrong.

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

Thank you for your Christian kindness and for allowing me to post here. Sorry you had to spend so much time defending my position. I believe that for your sake it might be best if I go hibernate for a long spell or so. Anyway here are a couple of comments I hope you will post for me.


Wade,

Deepest appoligies for offending you my dear brother. However, you still have not answered my questions nor have you provided proof of your alligations against Dr. Brad. Please let us witness that Oklahoma Christianity and pastoral integrity, and provide the proof. I know you are a man of integrity and honor, so put up the BEEF and clear your good name. I am with you my dear brother, and merry Christmas to you and yours.

Tim,

Quite an excellent observation concerning me, even if it were all incorrect. I am in a learning process and have truly changed my mind several times. Sorry if I appear to be inconsistant, but I really do seek truth and honesty. That is why I camp here so often. Truth is found here.

Volfan,

You are correct about Wade not alolowing certain peoples posts. I tried to post there again yesterday, but as usual LOCKED OUT. And now Wade's friend (Tim) is trying to get Dr. Brad to ban me too. Oh well at least Jesus still loves me.

Bubba Bear
Headin for hibernation

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I've looked and looked for the post where I said I wanted to do away with immersion baptism and I just can't find it. Maybe you can point me to it.....

Headed for papacy,

PTL

Anonymous said...

Bubba,

Let me let you in on a little lesson of logic and rhetoric:

The Law of Non-Contradiction - Nothing can both be and not be at
the same time and in the same respect.

Therefore it is impossible as you stated for me to have had:

"Quite an excellent observation concerning me, even if it were all incorrect."

It cannot be "an excellent observaton" and be "all incorrect."

I am so confused....

TC

RevBubbaBear said...

Tim,

Sorry you are so confused. I am glad that you had "Quite an excellent observation concerning me" however your interpretation of what you observed "was all incorrect." Understand? No need for a law on non-contradiction.

Bubba

Ps. Did Wade ever provide proof? Not!

Anonymous said...

Brad,

Sorry to comment so late on this post. Due to time constraints, I have only now gotten around to reading it, and the comment string.

I will not try to argue my position here now, since it is so late, and because others have already done so quite well.

However, I did want to call your attention to several comments on a post by Bart Barber back on July 27, entitled Review: Thomas White, "What Makes Baptism Valid?".

On the comment string, I left the following comment:

"I appreciate Dr. White's admission that the "administrator" of a baptism "does not determine validity." As I understand him, he does say, however, that the validity of the administrating church does determine the validity of the baptism. I would have liked to have seen a little more specific biblical evidence to back up this assertion. Also, it seems to me he accepts as a given that baptism is a "local church ordinance" as well as the implications this brings along with it. I would like to see a more reasoned biblical defense of this position as well."

Afterwords, "Cameron" left the following comment:

"Good morning Bart!

I'd have to agree with David's sentiments that Dr White's arguments regarding the local church as the one true realm of valid baptism suffer from a lack of scriptural foundations. In fact, it seems that he has abandoned revelation for reason on this point. Rather than offer up biblical references to support his claim, he states that "the ordinances logically are administered by the local church." (emphasis mine) For a church to accept as valid a baptism performed by a believer in his backyard is said to "stike us as unwise," yet not unscriptural? Then at the close of his paragraph (third time's a charm!) he again states that for a baptism to be done publicly, before the eyes and ears of the church, is the "wisest" thing to do.

I don't want to argue that baptism performed by the church as a group is not a great practice. But in the context of this paper, the implication seems to be that this is the scriptural thing to do. Yet the voice of Scripture seems rather silent on this point in Dr White's paper."

After this, an "anonymous" poster, identifying himself as Dr. White, left the following comment:

"Gentlemen:

I thank you all for taking time to read my article. I will give your comments sincere thought. As time allows, I will attempt to write an article focused on defending Scripturally that the ordinances do in fact belong to the local church. You are correct that the point of the article was not to defend that point. Thank you all again for taking the time to consider and comment on my thoughts."

I am writing now to see if you, or anyone else, knows if Dr. White ever has published the additional article he alludes to in this comment.